To learn more about what I’m working on in Sacramento, or events happening in the district, please visit my website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. You can also email me at Senator.Morrell@sen.ca.gov.
Members of my staff hold regular monthly office hours across the 23rd Senate District. If you have an issue or concern that you would like to share in person but can’t make it to our main office, please plan to stop by. You can view the schedule here.
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Earlier this month, our nation took time to reflect on the life of Dr. King. His legacy is one of enduring hope. He was a tireless advocate for justice and equality, challenging America to live up to its founding principles.
His quote above holds particular importance for those of us in public office. We serve at the will of the people - regardless of race, creed, ethnicity or any other background - to empower them as they live their lives in pursuit of happiness and prosperity. We are sworn to defend the integrity of the document that is the supreme law of the land.
Dr. King’s words and actions have inspired generations of leaders striving to make our world a better place. Our society owes so much to him for his courage and resolve.
Each year, the Highlanders Boxing Club in Highland hosts an annual Christmas toy drive for local children. The support from the community is always tremendous and the effort this past December was no exception. I was glad to be joined by my wife Joanie and our sons Dave and Matt to distribute the gifts that were collected.
A few times throughout the year, I have an opportunity to be a guest on Charter Communications’ California Edition television show, which focuses on one-on-one interviews with local and state officials. It is broadcast on the Cal Channel (California’s version of C-SPAN). This month, host Brad Pomerance and his team celebrated their 500th episode. I want to congratulate them for a job well done and thank them for what they do for the people of our state!
In January, I helped swear-in the members of the Calimesa Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Thank you for your service and work in the community!
Lifeway Church Ministries in Rancho Cucamonga is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Here I am with Pastor Chris A. Esteves, Ph.D. to commemorate the occasion.
On January 17, CEO Ray Clark and his family opened the new Chino location of Clark’s Nutrition and Natural Foods Market. It's always exciting to be on hand to celebrate another business in our community!
In this photo are some of the members of the Inland Empire Caucus including (from left to right) Assemblymember Marc Steinorth, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, myself, and Senator Jeff Stone. To see more photos from the event, you can visit San Bernardino County Supervisor Josie Gonzales’ Facebook page here (thank you, Supervisor, for posting them!).
Each legislative session, members from our region form a bi-partisan coalition known as the Inland Empire Caucus to effectively advocate for the needs of our communities in Sacramento. We recently held our first meeting of the year at the new San Bernardino County Justice Center and had a productive discussion with leaders from San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
Local officials in attendance included San Bernardino County Supervisors Josie Gonzales, Robert A. Lovingood, James Ramos (Chairman), and Janice Rutherford; San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon; San Bernardino County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker; Presiding Judge Hon. Marsha G. Slough; and the Hon. Raymond Haight. Representatives of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors were also present. Legislators who made it to the meeting included Senator Connie Leyva, Senator Jeff Stone, Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, Assemblymember Eric Linder, Assemblymember Marc Steinorth, and myself.
I want to thank everyone for their participation. I look forward to continuing our conversations in the year ahead. To read more about the meeting, click here.
San Bernardino County Supervisors (from left to right) Josie Gonzales, James Ramos (Chairman), Janice Rutherford, and Robert A. Lovingood at the Inland Empire Caucus meeting earlier this month.
For the 2015-2016 legislative session, I will be serving on the following committees:
- Banking and Financial Institutions
- Budget and Fiscal Review
- Budget Subcommittee #1 - Education
- Energy, Utilities and Communications
- Public Employees and Retirement (Vice-Chair)
You can read my full announcement here.
On January 9, Governor Brown released his draft 2015-16 state budget, laying out his priorities for California. His $113 billion proposal sets a record for state general fund spending, at least part of which will be used to fund the flawed and misguided high-speed rail system now under construction. To read my full response to his budget, you can click here.
In my previous newsletters, I’ve promoted our second annual Patriots of the Past, Present and Future Recognition Ceremony and Dinner to honor local veterans. The original date was set for Friday, March 13. However, due to factors outside of our control, my staff and I have had to postpone it to later this spring. Please watch for updates and details from our office in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, we are still taking nominations for honorees. For more information, click here.
Just before Christmas, the San Bernardino Sun ran a story on Joseph Mena, a veteran who works tirelessly with his wife to help homeless veterans throughout the region. He is the founder of Food 4 Heroes and Bike 4 Vets Inland Empire, an organization that works to provide bicycles to veterans who have no other means of transportation. I want to thank Mr. Mena for his dedication to our servicemen and women. To read the rest of his story, I encourage you to click here.
Each year, Senate offices have the opportunity to host a fellow as part of a program through the Center for California Studies based at California State University, Sacramento. The Senate Fellows Program offers college graduates a paid, full-time legislative staff position in the State Capitol for 11 months. The fellowship’s primary goals include exposing people with diverse life experiences and backgrounds to the legislative process by providing research and other professional staff assistance to the Senate.
Since November, my office has had the privilege of having Rebecca Harris on our staff.
Originally from Grass Valley in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, Rebecca recently graduated from Hillsdale College with a Master’s degree in Politics, concentrating on American Politics and Political Theory. Previously, she worked for The Independent Institute as a Policy Analyst on water issues and markets. In the months ahead, she is looking forward to working on legislation in many different subject areas, and is especially excited about staffing bills and learning how the policy committee process works.
Rebecca previously interned in my Capitol office where she had the opportunity to watch laws passed on the Assembly floor and policy debates occur in committee. After this experience, she knew that she wanted to work for the State Legislature. After living on the East Coast for 10 years, she decided to return to her home state of California. Despite its unique and sometimes frustrating challenges, she thinks that the people and businesses of California are worth fighting for and protecting. I couldn’t agree more. We’re glad to have you on board, Rebecca!
For those interested in applying to be a Fellow at the State Capitol, the deadline to apply for the 2015-16 class is February 9.
Source: Cal Facts 2014, Legislative Analyst’s Office
Between July 2007 and early 2010, California lost 1.3 million net jobs, upending the state’s economy. Most Californians either experienced the impact of the downturn firsthand or knew others who were affected.
In recent months, the media reported that California regained the number of jobs that were lost. It’s worth noting, however, that the seven years it took to reach this point was far longer than during previous recessions.
While California has crossed an important milestone on the way to full economic recovery, we can’t lose sight of the fact that our state still has one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 7 percent. In 2006, just before the recession, the unemployment rate was as low as 4.8 percent.
These statistics are sobering reminders that on the ground and in our communities, the recession is far from over in California. Tackling the jobs situation in our state has to be a top priority for Sacramento in the year ahead.